1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042
Lot 226
1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop
Sold for £897,500 (US$ 1,193,558) inc. premium

Lot Details
1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop  Chassis no. 19804210003042
1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with Hardtop
Registration no. BLJ 141A
Chassis no. 19804210003042
*Sold new in the USA in January 1963
*Matching numbers and colours
*Present ownership for 28 years
*77,579 miles from new
*Disc-breaked version

Footnotes

  • Created to spearhead Mercedes-Benz's return to competition in the post-war era, the 300 SL debuted in the 1952 Mille Miglia, finishing 2nd and 4th overall. Wins in the Carrera Pan-Americana and at Le Mans followed, and the 300 SL was on its way to becoming part of motor sporting legend. Max Hoffman, the Mercedes-Benz importer for North America, believed there would be a market for a road-going version and managed to convince the factory that such a car would be a success.

    The first racers were open-topped but before the '52 season's end the distinctive gull-wing doored Coupé had appeared. Unusually high sills were a feature of the multi-tubular spaceframe chassis, and while access was not a problem of the open car, the adoption of coupé bodywork required innovative thinking - hence the gull-wing doors.

    Launched in 1954, the production 300 SL retained the spaceframe chassis of the racer and was powered by a 2,996cc, overhead-camshaft, inline six canted at 45 degrees to achieve a lower, more aerodynamic bonnet line. Using innovative direct fuel injection, this state-of-the-art power unit produced 215bhp at 5,800rpm. A four-speed gearbox transmitted power to the hypoid bevel rear axle. Suspension was independent all round by wishbones and coil springs at the front, with swing axles and coil springs at the rear.

    Tested by the highly respected American magazine Road & Track in 1955, the 300 SL accelerated from 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds, going on to achieve a top speed of 140mph: outstanding figures for its day. It was, arguably, the world's first supercar. Half expecting the long-awaited 300 SL to provide an anti-climax, R&T were delighted to find the new car, 'far beyond our wildest expectations. In fact, we can state unequivocally that in our opinion the 300 SL coupé is the ultimate in an all-round sportscar. It combines more desirable features in one streamlined package than we ever imagined or hoped would be possible. Performance? It accelerates from a dead start to 100mph in just over 17 seconds. Dual purpose? A production model 300SL can make a very acceptable showing in any type of sportscar competition. Yet the car is extremely tractable and easy to drive in traffic. Comfort? The fully enclosed 300SL is the most comfortable (and safe) high-speed 'cross-country' car built today.' Its racing parentage notwithstanding, the 300SL was and remains a thoroughly practical automobile, as civilised in city driving as it is exhilarating on the highway.

    Clearly the 300 SL Coupé would be a hard act to follow yet the Roadster version, introduced just three years later, succeeded in bettering its closed cousin's already exemplary road manners. Built with conventional doors, the 300 SL Roadster was first exhibited at the Geneva Salon in May 1957 and was an immediate hit with the 1950s 'jet set' of royalty, actors, and socialites. The production of an open 300SL involved altering the cockpit area, where the spaceframe was redesigned to permit lower sills for improved access. At the same time the rear suspension was changed to incorporate low-pivot swing axles. Disc brakes were standardised from March 1961, while towards the end of production a small batch of Roadsters was completed with an aluminium cylinder block.

    The Roadster's neutral steering characteristics received fulsome praise from Road & Track in its 1958 road test. 'With the low-pivot rear suspension and more adhesive tyres, the car handles beautifully under all conditions. This is a tremendous improvement over the hardtop models, which had a tendency to oversteer rather violently if pressed too hard.' A 0-60mph time of 7.0 seconds and a top speed of 130mph were recorded, making the 300 SL Roadster one of the fastest convertibles of its time. R&T concluded: 'There is no doubt that the 300 SL roadster is a truly great dual-purpose sports car, equally at home in traffic and the open road, or on the track,' words that remain equally true today.

    The 300 SL Roadster sold well for a car that cost more than a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, and would out-live the 300 SL Coupé, which ceased production in 1957, by several years. Roadster production ceased in 1963 after 1,858 cars had been built, and today the model is both rare and highly sought after.

    Built very late in 1962, the iconic 300 SL roadster offered here was shipped to the USA in January 1963 and sold that month to a New York doctor as a '63 model. He kept the Mercedes for three years before selling it to Robert E English of Colorado. Three generations of the English family would enjoy the 300 SL over the next 22 years, during which time the car was maintained by ex-factory mechanic, Heinz Nichol (see correspondence on file).

    The car was purchased from the USA by the current (third) owner in January 1989 and brought to the UK, arriving at his home in June of that year. At that time it had covered a genuine 70,500 miles from new, to which the vendor has added a further 7,000-or-so over his 28 years' ownership, which included exhibiting the car at the Hurlingham Club Concours d'Elegance in June 2007 (information sheet on file).

    '3042' comes complete with factory hardtop, tool kit, jack, car cover, and two original advertising brochures, and is offered fresh from re-commissioning by renowned 300 SL specialist, Kevin O'Keeffe. Accompanying documentation includes a copy of its State of Colorado Certificate of Title; the original UK V5 registration document; sundry bills; MoT to September 2017; a UK V5C Registration Certificate; and the aforementioned correspondence, all of which may be found in the comprehensive history file.

    A beautiful example of the iconic 300 SL in Roadster form, this is a highly desirable motor car that would make an exhilarating yet extremely practical touring companion. Indeed, there cannot be many better ways of travelling to a classic event, taking part and driving home.
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